Some of you may know the heartache of unforgiveness. After humbling yourself and apologizing for a wrong, hoping to restore a broken relationship or bring healing to someone, you were rebuffed or ignored. Your cry to be forgiven was not met with love or a consoling pardon. The pain of unforgiveness is heart wrenching. All one can do is act on what the scriptures instruct and pray, leaving the rest to God.
1 John 1:9 is a PROMISE. We will find forgiveness in Christ if we confess our sins and repent of our ways. This is a blessed assurance. God will never say, “No, I will not accept your confession of sin and heart felt apology. I do not forgive you. I do not want a relationship with you.”
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 (NKJV)
Thankfully, we will never suffer this rejection with God. He accepts our plea for forgiveness and casts the memory of our sin as far as the east is from the west. We have been washed in the blood and sacrifice of the Lamb. Our Creator longs for an intimate relationship with us and since all sin separates us from His presence, He forgives us repeatedly.
We cannot however change people, or their reaction to our sin. We can only work on changing ourselves…. with God’s grace. Because God loves us, He works to perfect and refine our spirits until they eventually reflect back the very image of Christ. This act of sanctification requires man to lay aside pride and self-will. Everyone comes to the place of absolute surrender at a different time in life. Through the revelation of the Holy Spirit, we eventually come to understand the necessity for making greater room in our hearts for God.
“He must become greater; I must become less.” John 3:30 (NIV)
A conflict between two people means that there are TWO individuals who need to work together on the resolution. One may want change and restoration but the other might not. We can influence people in a positive way by walking in the light, but God alone refines and transforms the heart. If one person is not willing or ready to consider forgiveness, reconciliation is put on hold.
There is always the hope of a restored relationship but sin, even confessed sin, will change an association in some way. We are not like God who is able to forget wrongs and cast them beyond His memory. Broken trust takes time to heal. It takes work and patience, understanding and tolerance. Wounds heal but some scars remain. Maybe the scar will serve as a testimony of God’s healing power, a witness to others who are living in broken relationships.
A restored relationship gives glory to God. It can become even better after suffering through affliction, betrayal, and sin. Love is the healing balm that makes this possible. Love is the greatest gift of all and can cover a multitude of sins, if we are willing to lay down our own pain and offer the wrongdoer (It usually takes two individuals to make a wrong and therefore two are necessary to make it right again) absolution.
Hold on to the promise that ALL of your sins are forgiven when you repent to God, even the unforgiven sins held against you by someone with a hard heart. You are cleansed from all unrighteousness the minute you confess to God. He pardons all unrighteousness and grants absolution. Guilt does not come from God, just Holy Spirit conviction that leads to humble repentance. You have been forgiven. You are forgiven. By the blood of Jesus Christ you are freely forgiven.
“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins.” Isaiah 43:25 (NKJV)
“ Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV)
“He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:10-12 (NIV)
“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” ~ C.S. Lewis